Woke up this morning to the realization that I am headed back to the good ole USA in exactly two weeks…crazy! I hate to be the guy that says “wow where did the time go? I feel like I just got here!”, but where does the time go because it seems like I just got here. After a calm couple of weeks, I figured it was time to introduce some insanity into my schedule, which included multiple 15 minute presentations (in German, natürlich) in the span of one week and a couple trips!
The presentations went well, thanks for asking. As one who generally is terrified of public speaking, let alone in a foreign language, I felt confident as I presented some of my favorite topics; Porsche and Milwaukee. I believe this to be a strong testament that my German speaking has, indeed, improved in this last semester. However, my grammar ability is another story, so no promises on the final exam results there.
As I mentioned earlier, I had done some traveling in these past few weeks, one trip being to Wiesbaden, located near the city of Frankfurt am Main. The driving reason behind my decision to study German lies in my family lineage, essentially my mom’s side of the family is very German. This results in having many relatives located across Germany, and Europe in general. My mother’s Aunt and uncle, which makes them my great-aunt and great-uncle (I think?), currently reside in Wiesbaden, and with only a couple weeks left in the country, a trip to visit was long overdue!
On Saturday morning, I took a train south and met them in the city of Mainz, which lies directly across the Rhein River from Wiesbaden. We checked out the Gutenberg Museum, and had a lovely lunch composed of Schnitzel and potato salad before heading to their home in Wiesbaden. The rest of the weekend was spent exploring the city, meeting their son, Matthias, checking out a Russian church at the top of a mountain, and eating a BUNCH of cake and tortes. It was a great weekend. I then headed back to Bonn, where I would only be back for four days before my next trip. Super spoiled.
Before coming abroad, I had envisioned traveling across Europe, visiting all of my other friends who were also abroad. While I have meet up a lot of my friends in various cities while abroad, I realized that I hadn’t actually visited anyone in their respective city. After seeing an Instagram post from a friend of mine who was studying in Florence, I messaged her and it turned out that she was still there until the end of July! I booked my tickets and was off!
After a long day of buses, trains, and flights I finally arrived in Florence, and wow, it’s amazing there. The architecture, food, museums, everything (except the massive amounts of tourists), was incredible.
We visited the Uffizi Museum one day, which, as an art major, was really interesting to actually see several of the pieces that had been studied in some of my art history courses. One of the nights we met up with some of their friends, who were local Florentines. They were all extremely welcoming, fun, and friendly people, but they were just a bit disappointed to learn I was also from Wisconsin, as they wanted to be able to compare the Wisconsin accent with that of another area of the US!
Overall, I would highly recommend Florence, loved every bit of it. Something I did not love about that trip was the journey back to Bonn…
My flight was scheduled to leave out of Pisa, only an hour train ride from Florence. Around noon, I packed my belongings, hopped on the incredibly crowded train, and headed towards Pisa. After arriving, I realized I still had 3 hours before my flight, and the airport was only a short train ride from the main train station. I figured I may as well check out the Leaning Tower of Pisa, just because, right?! I quickly learned that it was a bit farther of a walk than I had anticipated, and the 90-degree weather was certainly not making it a comfortable one. I made it to the tower, took 4 photos, glanced at it, and then pulled a 180 right back to the train station, questioning if I had budgeted enough time to still make my flight. I ended up making it the airport in time, and there was no need to worry as my Ryanair flight was delayed (surprise!). This delay did, however, lead me to miss the bus from Frankfurt to Bonn that I had planned to take. It left at 7:40 pm, then next bus left at 10:40 pm. Not ideal. So, I did what anyone would do, took a train into Frankfurt, bought some peaches and local beer, and watched the sunset over the Main river. Weird. After an overly long bus ride back to Bonn, I was finally back.
Total travel time: 14.5 hours. 3 buses, 3 trains, 1 flight, 4 peaches.
If there’s ever an incentive to spend a little bit more money to travel, it would be to avoid days like this, but hey, still made it from point A to B. Speaking of saving money while traveling, I will be in Kiev, Ukraine exactly two weeks from now for a layover on my way back to the US. “Hey Quinn, isn’t Kiev in the exact opposite direction of the US?” Yes, it is. Again, cheapest ticket possible.
Thanks for reading!